U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing #35, 00-04-21
From: The Department of State Foreign Affairs Network (DOSFAN) at <http://www.state.gov>
U.S. Department of State
Daily Press Briefing
I N D E X
Friday, April 21, 2000
Briefer: James P. Rubin
1,7-8 Russian Duma Ratifies the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)
9 New Russian Military Doctrine/US View
MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS
1-2 New Momentum in Israeli-Palestinian Talks
2,3,4-5 Next Round of Talks in Region/Dennis Ross and Aaron Miller Role
2 President Clinton and Secretary Albright's Meetings with
3 Timeline for Framework Agreement
3-4 Status Chairman Arafat's Health
4 Chairman Arafat's Schedule/Other Meetings in Washington
5-6,7 Status of Israeli-Syrian and Israeli-Lebanese Tracks
6 UN Troops Following Israeli Withdrawal from Lebanon
6-7 US Position on Foreign Forces in Lebanon
9 Status of Elian Gonzales Case/Greg Craig Contact with Department
10 Update on Cuban Explanation of Altercation at Interests Section
10-11 US Presence in Khatoum/Consular Officer Travel to Khartoum
12 US Position on Independence for Kosovo
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
FRIDAY, APRIL 21, 2000, 12:15 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. RUBIN: It just gets earlier and earlier and earlier.
QUESTION: There are more of you than there are of us.
MR. RUBIN: Earlier and earlier and earlier. Well, on Fridays, you know
the press corps often doesn't work quite as hard as it does earlier in the
week but, being that it's Good Friday, we understand that -- those of us
who had our own holidays earlier in the week.
No questions -- no statements. (Laughter.) No briefing, no schedule,
nothing to offer except to respond to your questions.
QUESTION: The Russians observed Good Friday by -- or at least the Russian
parliament did -- by approving the CTBT. And some of the lawmakers are
saying this gives Russia the moral edge over the US. What comment do you
MR. RUBIN: Well, we and Russia have worked very closely together for many
years now on the objective of nuclear arms control, and it was the United
States that led the way in signing the Comprehensive Test Ban and in
pushing for its negotiation and, ultimately, its agreement. So I think we
feel quite confident that it was our leadership that helped the world move
towards a Comprehensive Test Ban.
Obviously, we were very disappointed when our Senate did not ratify, or did
not give its advice and consent to ratification, of the Treaty last year.
But from our standpoint, Secretary Albright, working with the White House,
has named General Shalikashvili to work on this problem. We don't expect it
to be resolved this year, but it's something that we think is so important
that we need to begin to have some quiet consultation with senators
who have legitimate questions and concerns that we think can be addressed,
so that we can soon enough ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban.
We ratified -- we gave advice and consent to the START II Treaty some years
ago, and it's only recently that the Russians have finally, after many long
years, given their advice and consent to START II. So it's hard to see how
the Russians are ahead of the game, given that we led the way in getting
the treaty negotiated and signed, and that we led the way in ratification
of START II many, many years ago.
QUESTION: I've got a question about the Middle East talks last night.
MR. RUBIN: Sure.
QUESTION: Could you give an explanation of how you see the schedule in
the months ahead, between now and September 13th? Obviously, there are some
more talks later this month, but it seems it's going at a somewhat
magisterial pace, considering that there's a deadline coming up in just
about three weeks.
MR. RUBIN: Well, look, it's not easy to push forward on an issue that has
resisted resolution for a long, long time. We're talking about profound
issues -- Jerusalem, water, refugees, borders -- questions that have defied
solution for many, many years. So it's no surprise that this is hard. This
is a tough piece of business.
But we think there is new momentum and a new resolve on the part of the
leaders -- Chairman Arafat and Prime Minister Barak -- to work these
problems. We have a new development at the next round of talks which will
begin, I think on the 1st day of May, give or take a day or two, in the
region, in that Ambassador Ross and his deputy, Aaron Miller, will be at
the table much more continuously than they've been in the past. So there
will be a new American involvement in the day-to-day operations of the
But we know that it's a tall, tall order to overcome the nature of some of
these problems, but we think as a result of the President and the
Secretary's meetings with Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Arafat that
there is a new resolve on the part of the leaders to get the job done.
But it's an extraordinarily difficult enterprise, and we have tried to
impress upon the leaders the need to come up with realistic solutions, and
we hope that will begin to happen when, as you know, at the end of the last
round they each had drafts of what they called a skeleton agreement that
would have the necessary elements so that we can move towards a framework
agreement and then, ultimately, an actual agreement. And so the skeleton
agreements have been exchanged, and those will then be discussed in
greater detail. And to the extent that we can put flesh on the bones
of that skeleton through the process in the region, we think we will
be able to help.
QUESTION: But it sounds like it's an incremental change rather than a
significant change of American participation. You say they'll be at the
table more continuously than they had been. It's pretty hard to measure,
you know. It doesn't seem like a change.
MR. RUBIN: Well, let me make the difference between occasional chairing
of a meeting and constant presence. That's the difference. So I probably
underplayed that, which is my wont, as you know, to underplay these
And the involvement was something that the parties thought was appropriate
and that we think is a way for us to be helpful. But, again, we think that
the will appears to be there. Now we have to find a way to get there.
QUESTION: Could I ask, can you tell us a little more about the specifics
of what Mr. Ross and Mr. Miller will be doing at these meetings?
MR. RUBIN: Yes. There are the issues that we've outlined. They're not new
to you -- water, refugees, borders, Jerusalem, the third further redeployment.
These are issues that the two sides have views on. They have been
exchanging views on their concerns, their needs, their objectives, their
bottom-line conceptions, during their own negotiations prior to coming to
At Bolling, we then tried to get some brainstorming to be done so that we
could find places where there were common elements, and that is what the
skeleton process is designed to achieve.
And what Ambassador Ross and his deputy, Aaron Miller, will be doing in the
region is looking to expand those elements where there is common ground,
and doing that by pushing each side to fully explain their position, to
focus on the practical and not the theoretical, and see how far they can
get. That's what they'll be doing.
QUESTION: Jamie, Dr. Erekat said today at the National Press Club in his
briefing that they don't view the May date as a deadline, but more as a
flexible timeline. You said yesterday the United States has always seen
some flexibility with that. Is everyone trying to tell us to move away from
the May date and not expect anything -- the outline -- to be ready by then?
Is that what everyone is trying to tell us?
MR. RUBIN: I think you've cracked the code. It's enormously difficult to
imagine getting a framework agreement just a few days after the talks
resume in the region. It's possible, but it's enormously difficult. It's
But, for us, what's been important is not so much the framework agreement
and the time frame of that because, you know, a framework agreement could
have more or less in it, depending on the desires of the parties. A fully
formed framework agreement could have most everything you need for a final
agreement. It depends. It's a diplomatic device to give momentum, and so
you would choose -- if you had a fully formed framework agreement that had
every element practically there except a few details, and you had
that done by mid-summer or late summer, you still might be able to
meet the September 13th deadline.
So part of the timing of this depends on what kind of framework agreement
people decide they want, but it's been our view that we want it as soon as
possible. But what we're focused on as the date that counts, obviously, is
the September 13th goal of full-fledged agreement on the permanent
QUESTION: Jamie, do you know anything about Arafat's health, maybe,
because he didn't show up for a briefing this morning?
MR. RUBIN: Well, I had received no indications from the Secretary that
there was anything new or different about his health during her discussions
with him yesterday.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) quiet last night with the President and he was --
didn't show up this morning.
MR. RUBIN: I don't have anything new on that, but maybe --
QUESTION: He said he had another meeting this morning, some follow-up
talks, do you know anything about those?
MR. RUBIN: I don't think the meeting was with us.
QUESTION: No, they said with the Palestinians.
QUESTION: So are there any follow-up talks with him today, or is he just
MR. RUBIN: An internal meeting within the Palestinian Authority, right.
You know, I have enough trouble keeping track of all the State Department
officials' schedules. But I'm not aware of when he's precisely leaving, but
we'll try to --
QUESTION: Seven o'clock tonight.
MR. RUBIN: There you go. Seven o'clock tonight.
QUESTION: They said he would still have his meeting with Wolfensohn
MR. RUBIN: Okay.
QUESTION: So after the Barak meeting, you said that this will be the time
to draw some conclusions about how the process proceeds. And I just wonder
if you could --
MR. RUBIN: Did I say that?
MR. RUBIN: Really? I just hate it when you read those old transcripts.
QUESTION: So could you just give us your take on how the United States
will put forward ideas to try to bridge the gaps? You've talked about the
parties obviously trying to find it themselves but, with the United States
in the chair, how do you see that really --
MR. RUBIN: Well, in response to one of your colleague's questions, I did
give a flavor of how I thought that Ambassador Ross and his deputy, Aaron
Miller, would operate in these talks; in other words, being there all the
time, they'd be in a better position to pick up on common elements and
suggest that there were creative compromises that could be made. That is
different, however, than a US package, a US set of ideas that is designed
to bridge the gaps.
And when and if we come to that point, I will be happy to report that to
you. I suspect that may happen after I'm no longer in a position to report
such things to you, but that is not envisaged right now, nor am I aware
that it's envisaged for the opening of these talks. But, rather, a more
continuous presence, a more constant presence, may allow us to help package
their ideas in a way that we think could move it forward, but not move to a
phase where we're putting down our solution to these issues.
QUESTION: But this phase could come?
MR. RUBIN: I wouldn't rule it out.
QUESTION: Yesterday you contrasted it with Wye River, and that's what
you're doing now: saying this is clearly not headed toward that direction
yet, although it could be, right -- the US involvement part of it?
MR. RUBIN: Yes. In Wye River we -- prior to Wye River, we had a US
percentage, 13 percent to bridge the gap between a single-digit percentage
of the Israelis and a -- I believe as high at certain times as 50, 60 or 70
percent position of the Palestinians. And we said an appropriate way to get
the process back on track was 13 percent, that we thought that was
doable and met the needs of both sides. And, ultimately, that's what
happened. But that has not been our posture vis-a-vis Jerusalem, water,
refugees, borders, statehood, to date.
QUESTION: Is it because the United States doesn't see it useful at this
time to be as involved with specifics as it was leading up to Wye? Is it
just not the time for that, or is the US hoping that it doesn't have to
become so involved in the bilateral --
MR. RUBIN: Well, ideally, in these cases we can avoid that because it's
not -- we try to play as much or as little a role as the parties and we
think it necessary to get the job done. And so far we think they've been in
a position to have their discussions, be creative, brainstorm together,
work on exchanging these skeletal drafts for the agreement -- skeleton
drafts for the agreement.
And the time may come where we do make some suggestion or another. I'm not
saying we're going to have a whole package across the board of all issues,
but on one issue that time may come. It just hasn't come now. And what has
come is a time for us to get down to the business of rolling up our sleeves
with the negotiators continuously to see where the problems are and see
what we can add to potential solutions.
QUESTION: Jamie, Dr. Erekat also said that yesterday they stressed to the
Administration their hope that the Syrian and Lebanon talks would pick up
again as well. Can you give us a characterization --
MR. RUBIN: I have nothing new to offer on the Syria track. On Lebanon,
we've obviously been working very closely with the Secretary General and
the United Nations, and we want to support their effort to get implementation
of the resolution. We've welcomed the Israeli decision to withdraw
unconditionally from Lebanon. We find it hard to imagine why anyone would
oppose or stand in the way of such a decision, and we expect all the
parties involved to be as constructive as possible as the Israelis seek an
With respect to the negotiating track, I don't have much new to offer
QUESTION: But can you explain to me better about what the Palestinians
said yesterday in terms of do they view how much they respond in their own
talks to what they view as progress being made in the other talks?
MR. RUBIN: I think it's the rhetorical position of the Palestinians that
they want the Syrian track to be resumed -- accelerated and resumed.
QUESTION: By going along with UN plans to increase the peacekeeping force
in South Lebanon and to move into the areas vacated by the Israelis in July,
has the United States effectively abandoned its support for Lebanese army
control of these areas?
MR. RUBIN: Well, I think that's probably reading a bit much into it. What
we're supporting, as opposed to abandoning, is the implementation of the
Security Council resolution, and allowing the Secretary General to make a
judgment on what kind of troop numbers he thinks he needs. There is plenty
of room between the existing deployment and the authorized level, which I
believe is 7,000, and so it may or may not require a new resolution.
We strongly support the sovereignty, territorial integrity, of Lebanon and
the Lebanese Government, and it is that government, working with the UN,
that needs to work on such problems.
QUESTION: Okay. But in your talks with the Lebanese Government on this,
have they in effect refused to consider plans for an early deployment of
Lebanese army forces in those areas?
MR. RUBIN: I would prefer not to speculate on what the Lebanese army is
going to do inside Lebanon at this time. We want this to be a safe and
orderly withdrawal. The details of how to make that happen is what the
Secretary General and Mr. Larsen are working on. We are assisting them and
working with them, and we don't think it would be wise to publicly
speculate on all sorts of possibilities at this time.
QUESTION: What's your position on the continued presence of other foreign
forces in Lebanon?
MR. RUBIN: It's been our position for some time that all foreign forces
should leave Lebanon, and that the Lebanese Government's territorial
integrity and sovereignty is something we believe strongly in.
QUESTION: Have you discussed with the Syrians the possibility that they
might also want to consider withdrawing their forces at this time?
MR. RUBIN: I think it's a stated position. The Syrians know our views.
I'm not aware of any renewed dialogue with Syria to that effect, nor would
I think that we would imagine that would have much of an impact.
QUESTION: Speaking of the Syrians and the dialogue, is there now
consideration to going back to the Syrians to ask them to start spelling
out what they really mean by some of these hints that have been in the
press and from senior officials?
MR. RUBIN: Well, we've been in a dialogue with the Syrians about this
question through our Embassy. Obviously, the Secretary General's representative
will be doing to Damascus in the coming weeks, and we do think it's very
important that all parties -- and we expect all parties -- to behave in
such a way that a safe and orderly departure of Israeli forces can be
QUESTION: On the other issue between Syria and Israel, what is the status
of the dialogue?
MR. RUBIN: I think I was just asked that question by one of your
colleagues. I said I have nothing new to offer, but I'd be happy to repeat
QUESTION: Last night, the Administration briefer said that a response is
being prepared to Assad's oral message that came in through the Embassy.
I'm just wondering if you have any more details on that.
MR. RUBIN: Well, that was some days ago we received that oral message.
And we've been in contact with them since that time, and I'm not aware of
any new development of significance on the Syria track.
QUESTION: Have you had any clarification of the various hints that
they've been putting out from senior officials and through media reports
about a desire to resume the negotiations?
MR. RUBIN: I'm not aware we've received any indicators that there is
something significantly new that would give new hope to the chance of
moving the Syria process forward.
QUESTION: New subject.
MR. RUBIN: Please.
QUESTION: On the CTBT and the Russian Duma's ratification, what's the
response of the State Department?
MR. RUBIN: I mentioned that earlier, but let me repeat that the United
States obviously welcomes, as the President indicated this morning, the
ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban. We think the more countries
that ratify it, the better. The CTB is something that -- the ban on all
nuclear testing is something we think is very important. That's why we were
the first country to sign it, why we worked so hard for its negotiation.
And we hope that as General Shalikashvili meets with senators in the coming
weeks and months that we can deal with some of their concerns. We don't
expect that to be able to be done this year, but we think it's an important
issue that we need to continue to work on, so that we can live up to our
part of the implicit bargain of the Non-Proliferation Treaty because other
countries see the Comprehensive Test Ban as one of the things that we
need to pursue. So when senators take a look at it and see what's
happening this coming week in New York, they will see the value of our
ratification of the CTB in helping to ensure that other countries stay
out of the nuclear business and other countries don't violate the
Non-Proliferation Treaty, which so advances our national security.
QUESTION: What does the State Department have to say to those -- how
would you counter critics of this Administration who say that you have no
arms control treaty to call your own, that there has been no new initiative
MR. RUBIN: Well, you know, we don't seek treaties for treaties' sake.
Some do; we don't. We seek treaties that can advance our national
We have signed the Comprehensive Test Ban during this Administration. It
has been negotiated by this Administration. It's been ratified by 30
countries now. Its provisions have been abided by, which was not true ten
years ago. So the Comprehensive Test Ban is now a reality. Prior to
President Clinton and Secretary Albright, it was not a reality. That's a
big, big difference.
Meanwhile, the holdup on strategic arms control was in the Russian Duma.
That holdup has now been resolved. Those who would have had us change our
policy towards Kosovo, towards Iraq, toward NATO enlargement, in order to
make it more likely that the Duma would ratify START II, we think were
misguided. We think it was extremely important to pursue those policies on
NATO enlargement, on Kosovo and Iraq, regardless of whether the Duma
threatened to shoot itself in the foot by not ratifying START II.
So these are some of the arguments that they make. From our standpoint, a
comprehensive ban on nuclear testing is now in place, and it was not in
place before. That's dramatically and remarkably new, from this Administration.
That is something that has been sought by the United States since President
Eisenhower. That strikes me as a rather historic accomplishment.
With respect to the strategic arms control, I think I answered that. And
that's what I'd say to my former friends at the Arms Control Association.
QUESTION: Still on Russia. The Russian Government officially adopted
today a new military doctrine which seems to make the use of nuclear
weapons more easier. Do you have any comments or a statement about
MR. RUBIN: Yes. We've seen various accounts of their doctrine, and so far
we've not seen anything that indicates a dramatic new departure to us. I
haven't seen the actual wording of this final doctrine, as you say, but I
know we've been following this debate in Russia very closely and we don't
believe there's any dramatic new departure.
MR. RUBIN: Yes.
QUESTION: Greg Craig is growing much more impatient about the pace and
the child's status, and I'm just wondering, given his relationship with the
Secretary and with the Department, has he sought her counsel? Has he talked
to her? Has he asked for her assistance in trying to get the Administration
to move more quickly? Has he talked to other people within the Department?
MR. RUBIN: I can't rule out that he's talked to colleagues in the
Department, former colleagues. Our involvement in this is rather limited at
this point, and I think for those of you who have asked me questions about
Elian, you've begun to take note of that. This is a Justice Department
matter. It's a domestic matter. The State Department's role has been to
deal with Cuba on visa issues, on diplomatic notes -- that kind of thing.
We did provide the visas necessary for Elian's father and his new
wife and child and one other individual to come to the United States --
those six original visas -- and we will continue to review the other
With respect to Greg Craig's contact with the Secretary, I'm not aware of
any particular contact. And that's not really the issue, what the Secretary
of State's view is right now.
QUESTION: As a fairly recently departed State Department official, isn't
he precluded from having any kind of contact for two years?
MR. RUBIN: No. There is a difference between if we approach him; in other
words, if he's a lawyer in a case and we have to find out details about
visas, we're allowed to be in contact with anyone. When you leave, you can
not approach -- as I understand it -- approach the State Department in
furtherance of some professional objective such as setting up a new policy,
a new meeting, something that would benefit your company, say. But if we
contact him, there's no problem because --
QUESTION: (Inaudible) on the side of the State Department calling
MR. RUBIN: Right I don't think it's happened very often, and I think
you're fishing in very thin waters here for something, because there's
nothing really there. I mean, this is a Justice Department matter and I
think it's pretty clear.
QUESTION: A follow-up with thin waters -- the thin water theory.
MR. RUBIN: Theme.
QUESTION: Theme. Can you give me any more on whether the Cubans have
provided a satisfactory explanation for this much-beleaguered incident?
MR. RUBIN: Yes. They have not provided a satisfactory explanation. We've
provided them a diplomatic note demanding an explanation and explaining the
seriousness of the matter to us. The matter is being investigated by the
Metropolitan Police. Their investigation continues. We're assisting them
and we are seeking a response from the Cuban Government on what happened,
and they have not given us a response yet.
QUESTION: Do they need to give you a response and also cooperate with the
police department? Is that what you've asked of them?
MR. RUBIN: Well, it's really one and the same because, being the State
Department, they would work through us to respond to inquiries from the
QUESTION: Have you -- or has the Department -- looked into what kind of
repercussions there could be diplomatically if the Interests Section does
MR. RUBIN: Yes.
QUESTION: Would you care to share them?
MR. RUBIN: No.
QUESTION: If, as some newspapers are reporting today, the boy is
transferred to the care of his father, might the State Department look more
favorably on the issuance of more of the visas that have been requested to
try and put more people --
MR. RUBIN: I don't want to speculate on what's going to happen in the
coming days, but we will keep that matter under review. And if there are
any new factors that we need to take into account in considering the visa
requests, we will take those into account.
QUESTION: You said it was thin waters, and you kept your word.
On Sudan, you said yesterday that everything is as before, almost
continuous US presence in Khartoum. But the Sudanese seem to think that
there is a change and that there's a consular officer -- office --
MR. RUBIN: Let me explain that. I've done some research, and there is
some new information I can provide to you on that. The Embassy was never
closed. That's a misunderstanding of the situation. We, in 1996, removed
full-time American staff from the Embassy and relocated them to Nairobi for
security reasons. From Nairobi, they travel regularly to Khartoum to
conduct normal embassy business.
In the wake of the bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, we suspended
rotating visits by American staff to Khartoum from Nairobi for security
reasons. We have now resumed rotating nearly continuous visits by US
personnel from Nairobi and Cairo to Khartoum. The first visit to Khartoum
occurred in early March, in conjunction with the visit of Harry Johnston,
our Special Envoy.
Our Nairobi-based charge-de-affairs is currently in Khartoum on a second
visit which began on April the 15th. We have no plans at present to return
full-time American staff to Khartoum.
The point here is that the Embassy operations were adjusted based on
security considerations. As those security situations improve, we adjust
our policies. What's new is that a consular officer is now able to travel
from Cairo to Sudan to do interviews with people seeking visas. That is not
reopening the consular section of the Embassy; we are not issuing visas
from Sudan. But a consular official that had been previously unable to
travel to Khartoum is now able to go there and do interviews, but not issue
visas -- do interviews. Visas still have to be issued in Cairo.
That is the situation. It's security-based, not policy-based, other
QUESTION: Why was he unable to travel for security reasons, again?
MR. RUBIN: Right. Because we didn't have as many people on a near-
continuous basis as we now have, so all the consular work was done in
Cairo. With an ability to have more people there on a near-continuous basis
and other aspects of our presence increasing on this because there are more
people there more, this has enabled a consular official to do interviews.
QUESTION: On the same question I asked yesterday, which was: What's the
difference between having somebody -- from the security point of view,
having somebody there all the time or having different people staying for
nearly continuous periods?
MR. RUBIN: Well, if you have a TDY-like situation where people go there,
they stay for a certain period of time -- temporary duty -- that is
different than reopening the permanence of the US presence, which requires
an elaborate presence, especially in a part of the world where there are
real security issues. And so people feel you can have small numbers of
diplomats go in and come out without their families, without all the
infrastructure that goes with continuous permanent stationing of people
QUESTION: Guards and that kind of thing?
MR. RUBIN: The whole works, right.
QUESTION: Albania's largest newspaper is reporting that Ibrahim Rugova,
sometimes known as the Gandhi of the Balkans, is saying that if Kosovo is
not given its independence, the Albanian Kosovars will go to war. Now, the
UN resolution that put KFOR into Kosovo did not authorize partitions.
How does the United States view this development?
MR. RUBIN: Well, partition is a different question than independence.
QUESTION: Okay. I perhaps misused them but --
MR. RUBIN: All right, doesn't envisage independence. What the resolution
does is say that this issue is to be determined pursuant to the same kind
of process -- and I think it refers to the Rambouillet Accords -- in which
the international community, the views of the people of Kosovo, will be
taken into account in some diplomatic process. That's how we, the United
States, see the future unfolding; that, at the appropriate time, a
conference or a meeting or discussion will be held in which all the
relevant views can be considered and decisions can be considered. So
that is our view.
With respect to Dr. Rugova's view, it's my understanding that every
Albanian politician in Kosovo is in support of independence, and their
standard position would be the sooner the better. But it is not our
understanding that any of the Kosovar Albanian leaders -- Dr. Rugova,
Hashim Thaci, Dr. Qosja, or any of them -- have independence as an
immediate objective in the coming months. But, rather, their objective is
self-government and the self-government that will come with free and fair
elections which are scheduled to be held in September that will come with
the gradual transferring of responsibilities for civil administration from
the international community to the Kosovars themselves.
So independence is an issue that's out there. It's been out there. We don't
support independence, but it's not my understanding there is any new danger
suddenly appearing on the horizon from an Albanian desire for independence.
QUESTION: So the United States does not support independence, but
countenances independence as a possible outcome of the various --
MR. RUBIN: I wouldn't quite put it that way. We don't make it a practice
of taking away people's dreams, and it is our view that we don't support
independence and it is our view that the status of Kosovo can be determined
only through the process I've described. But we're aware of the opinions
and the views and the dreams of many of the leaders of Kosovo.
(The briefing was concluded at 12:50 P.M.)